Wednesday, December 30, 2015

International Names

Hello, readers!

A couple of weeks ago I focused on US State Names that had a lot of use in the United States. Today, I'll be expanding my view to look at the names of countries that have made it into the US Top 1000.

Jordan - #55 for boys, #247 for girls
While the popularity of this name has less to do with the country and more to do with basketball star Michael Jordan, it is the most popular country name. Jordan means "flowing down" and has long been associated with its eponymous river. It works for both religious and secular families, and certainly won't be out of use anytime soon.

Israel - #240 for boys
Not a bad name to pick during this time of year! While the name has been in use for centuries, the creation of Israel in 1948 led to an upswing in using this name. Israel means "he who struggles with God" in Hebrew, and is used cross-culturally today. Nickname Izzy is pretty cute too.

Georgia - #243 for girls
The last of the country names in the top 500, Georgia has been a classic English feminine name for generations. After declining steadily for years, it returned in the 1990's and could very well make it into the top 20, in my opinion. Georgia means "farmer" and is also associated with the US state, more so than the Eurasian country.

Kenya - #702 for girls
This name was absolutely inspired by the country, and came into use after the independent Republic of Kenya was established. I think the sound of the name has kept it afloat - it's not too far from Kayla or Kendra - more so than any affiliation with the nation. Kenya comes from the Kikuyu Kirinyaga, meaning "white mountain".

Chad - #703 for boys
It's more of a coincidence that this name connects to the African nation, as the official etymology of Chad defines it as old English for "battle warrior". But it's popularity in the 1970's, 80's and 90's has cemented it into US name consciousness. The country's name comes from the Kanuri tsade, meaning "lake".

Ireland - #983 for girls
A celebrity baby name that made it into the top 1000, Ireland is great for the millions of Americans who claim Irish ancestry (I'm one of them). While I'm skeptical of this name for its lack of nicknames, that might appeal to some of you namers out there! Ireland comes from the Proto-Celtic Éire, meaning "the fertile place".

Other international names that don't quite fit these parameters include Asia, at #806 for girls; America, at #846 for girls; and Holland, at #891 for girls.

Did I miss any nations? Are there countries you think should be on this list? Tell me in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Scotland shows up as a given name in England in the 14th C!